Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. Published 8th March 2018.
The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste
Opening: “The Bone Keeper’s coming. The Bone Keeper’s real. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t feel. He’ll snatch you up. And make you weep. He’ll slice your flesh. Your bones he’ll keep.”
Yes, I did get myself in the Halloween frame of mind my reading a scary(ish) book in the run up to today. Along with the creepy title, The Bone Keeper also has a creepy song, which opens the novel and is noted above (a break from my usual format of just the opening sentence, but I wanted to write the whole little ditty out for reference).
Set in Liverpool, where the local legend of the bone keeper is known by pretty much everyone: He is a man / creature who lives deep in the woods and collects victims to steal their bones. DC Louise Henderson finds herself plunged into the bone keeper’s tale when a woman, Caroline, is attacked in the woods and claims it is the work of the bone keeper. Is this a twisted copycat bringing the legend to life, or is the bone keeper actually real? This theme is very well played throughout the book, with just enough supernatural references to keep you guessing and wondering.
In a similar vein, we are also given a backstory to one of the two lead female characters (Louise and Caroline) – twenty-years ago, a girl, her brother and two step-siblings went into the woods to find the bone keeper and the girl’s brother is never seen again – once again you are cleverly kept guessing about which woman it refers to and, for me, this did add a great level of suspense to the read.
However, I felt the lack of character development for both Louise and Caroline meant the read was lacking depth. Louise is a complex character, every so often we are given a random glimpse into her dark side, like this: ‘She imagined strangling him, wrapping her bare hands around his throat and watching the life drain from him.’ When this happened, it often felt a little out of the blue and not seamless enough to be believable. The same could be said about Caroline, although not as central as Louise, she is important, but we don’t really get to find out much about her or what makes her tick.
Overall though, there is a steady pace throughout the book that kept me intrigued and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. I found the ending a little rushed, but I did like the ideas and would recommend this as a creepy thriller with a difference.
I read an earlier book by this author and wasn’t convinced by the character development in that either, in fact, I seem to remember that I didn’t finish it, which is very unusual for me. I’ve since wondered if I was fair to the writer but perhaps I shouldn’t worry so much and just mark it down to experience.
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Interesting that you noticed that as well in a different book. While it was an enjoyable read, I’m not sure I’d be rushing to read another by this author!
I just couldn’t get into this story, I persevered as it had good review from Val Mcdermid but eventually I lost the plot, !
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At least you gave it a go! I’m definitely of the opinion that life is too short for ploughing on with books you’re not enjoying!